Planting Plan for a Bold, Modern Garden

Fine Gardening – Issue 212
bold modern planting plan

When Robin Parsons took on the job of designing this Zone 8b garden overlooking Puget Sound in Seattle, she had a challenge on her hands. The steel-and-glass home was situated on a dirt-and-gravel work site and lay at the edge of a steep slope leading down to the water. To complement the look of the home, sleek concrete hardscaping in the form of rectangular concrete pavers and walls was installed in the entryway of the home and leading to the backyard. These bold elements were offset by more informal pebbles and gravel elsewhere. When choosing plants, Robin prioritized texture and form over flowers, and many of the plants chosen were fine-textured, softening the boldness of the home and complementary hardscaping. These plants have colorful foliage and interesting habits of growth that more than make up for their lack of flowers. Here are some of the dynamic plants that grow in the front and back of this city garden.

Learn more about this garden in A Stunning Modern Landscape Design for a Contemporary Home.

Front entryway

modern front entryway garden

  1. ‘Sky Pencil’ Japanese holly (Ilex crenata ‘Sky Pencil’, Zones 5–9)
  2. ‘Aureola’ Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’, Zones 5–9)
  3. Privet honeysuckle (Lonicera pileata, Zones 6–8)
  4. Orange New Zealand sedge (Carex testacea, Zones 6–10)
  5. ‘Georgia Petite’ Indian hawthorn (Rhaphiolepis × delacourii ‘Georgia Petite’, Zones 8–10)
  6. Soft rush (Juncus effusus, Zones 4–9)
  7. Kelsey’s dwarf redtwig dogwood (Cornus sericea ‘Kelseyi’, Zones 2–8)
  8. Golden bamboo (Phyllostachys aurea, Zones 7–11)
  9. Midknight Blue® agapanthus (Agapanthus ‘Monmid’, Zones 6–11)
  10. ‘Hidcote’ English lavender (Lavendula augustifolia ‘Hidcote’, Zones 5–8)
  11. ‘Elijah Blue’ blue fescue (Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’, Zones 4–8)
  12. ‘Jade Butterfly’ gingko tree (Gingko biloba ‘Jade Butterfly’, Zones 4–9)
  13. ‘Fastigiata’ Irish yew (Taxus baccata ‘Fastigiata’, Zones 5–8)

Back garden

modern back garden

  1. Scotch moss (Sagina subulata, Zones 4–8)
  2. Sasanqua camellia (Camellia sasanqua, Zones 7–9)
  3. ‘Baggesen’s Gold’ box-leaf honeysuckle (Lonicera nitida ‘Baggesen’s Gold’, Zones 6–10)
  4. ‘Garnet’ Japanese maple (Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Garnet’, Zones 5–9)
  5. ‘Grace Ward’ lithodora (Lithodora diffusa ‘Grace Ward’, Zones 6–9)
  6. ‘Carousel’ New Zealand flax (Phormium ‘Carousel’, Zones 8b–11)
  7. ‘Sundowner’ New Zealand flax (Phormium ‘Sundowner’, Zones 8b–11)
  8. Emerald Spreader® Japanese yew (Taxus cuspidata ‘Monloo’, Zones 4–8)
  9. ‘Elijah Blue’ blue fescue (Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’, Zones 4–8)
  10. ‘Aureola’ Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’, Zones 5–9)
  11. Japanese maple (Acer palmatum cv., Zones 5–9)
  12. Dwarf eastern white pine (Pinus strobus ‘Nana’, Zones 3–9)
  13. ‘Midwinter Fire’ bloodtwig dogwood (Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’, Zones 5–8)



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